Anything wine-braised goes

It’s getting close to graduation and I can’t get myself to start packing all my food stuff for the big move this Sunday. Each time I told myself to focus and pack, my ADD kicked into high gear and the cardboard boxes and bubble wrap took a back seat to my distractions. Yesterday I decided to procrastinate with good taste and make wine-braised mushrooms with a goat cheese and mascarpone topping. What, what? I still have 4 more days until the parental unit gets here and starts complaining about how unproductive I’ve been this past week.

mise en place
mise en place

Anna, my host mom from Italy (and my friend Francesco’s actual mom), came a week early to spend time in Ithaca before the big day. Since I’m a believer that not every dinner party has to be an 8-course, 20-guest ordeal, I called up Francesco and invited him and his mom over for some wine and appetizers. I made her biscotti recipe and whipped up a batch of my wine-braised mushroom cups.

simple/cute puff pastry cups
making puff pastry cups

Puff pastry is key for this appetizer; and if you haven’t already discovered Foodbeam, Fanny offers a brilliant step-by-step crash course on this classic French dough. Can you make do using the store-bought stuff? I guess. But only if your foodie conscience actually allows you to pick up the pre-packaged dough that has been sitting in the frozen isle of your local grocery store for who knows how long and has been stamped with a generic 2-year window of expiration… sigh.

Braising the mushrooms is a walk in the park. All you have to do is sauté them over high heat, deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and red wine, and lower the heat until most of the liquid evaporates.

Wine-Braised Mushroom Cups
Wine-Braised Mushroom Cups

Braised Mushroom Cups

(yields approx. 24 cups)


  • 1 lb. crimini mushrooms, de-stemmed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 300 ml wine (1 small glass)
  • 300 g. puff pastry
  • 150 g. goat cheese
  • 100 g. mascarpone cheese
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • chives, for garnish

Putting them all together

  1. Sauté mushrooms over high heat with butter, olive oil, thyme and garlic for about a few minutes until browned.
  2. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and wine and lower heat to medium until most of the liquid has evaporated (apprrox. 25 minutes) and set aside.
  3. Cut out circle rounds of puff pastry and bake in a mini muffin tin to make the individual cups (poke holes before baking to prevent excessive puffing).
  4. Mix the cheeses, lemon zest and lemon juice for the topping.
  5. Scoop a few mushrooms into each cup and top with the lemon-infused cheese mixture. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.


la dolce vita: sharing good food with friends and family
eating puff pastry mushroom cups

22 thoughts on “Anything wine-braised goes

  1. Tony, you make the arduous seem so simple…I love the pics and the diagrams.

    Congrats on your impending grad and I hope we see more regular posts from you.


  2. Tony, these appetizers look delicious! Wine braised mushrooms, mascarpone and goat cheese are a great combo. And *thank you* for linking to Foodbeam’s directions on puff pastry — I’ve long wondered about making it myself, since I don’t buy the junk in the supermarket with all that nasty artificial stuff in it. Definitely going to try making my own now.

  3. Tony, I just found your site through Meta’s blog and am very impressed! Gorgeous, fun photos, and the recipe sounds great. Thanks, man!

  4. Yes, have made puff pastry from scratch, but would buy the frozen stuff if that was what it took to be able to have the time to make these gorgeous mushroom cups. Who needs a heavy meal when you have these, wine and some biscotti?

  5. Those look incredible! The recipe sounds so flavorful and I love how mushrooms seem to soak up the sauce.

    I’ve never made puff pastry before, nor have I ever made anything with it… But it’s one of those skills I need to learn.

    The way you put your pictures together is great!

  6. Peter – Thanks!! Hopefully once I pack everything and move in to my new place I’ll get back in the grove of things.

    Kevin – I must say, they were a hit with my friends!

    HobeyB – Gracias : )

    Elle – haha, you may have as many as you’d like! I’m really glad you enjoyed them.

    Amy – The ingredients went really well together. Fanny’s post is great and a valuable resource I knew I had to pass along.

    WORC – Thanks!! I loved the flavor that came through the wine-braising.

    Maryann – Thanks!!

    Robin – Thanks! I’m a regular at Meta’s. I’m glad that you liked my presentation and recipe : )

    Elle – I may have exaggerated the cons of buying frozen puff pastry just a bit, haha. I am a huge fan of just having only a few tasty things on the menu and enjoying the party and food with my guests.

    Christina – Thanks!! haha, the mushrooms soak up EVERYTHING and pack great flavors.
    Puff pastry is definitely a treat to make at home. Fanny’s guide will guide you through each step and you’ll pretty much be a puff pastry expert in no time.

  7. Ok, I had to come back here and stare at these some more. I don’t think I can wait for company! I need to make them NOWWWWWWWWWWW! lol 😀

  8. OK, Antonio…. You just made a, ah-hem, “29” yr old married mother of 2 blush with embarrassment – just this week I bought a puff pastry from the freezer section of my local grocery. I will NEVER do that again!

    These look amazing! You have a great site full of terrific, fun recipes. I look forward to browsing through them all & trying them out.

    Congratulations on graduating. I’m sure your parents & professors are extremely proud of your achievement.

    xoxox Amy

  9. Ok, so I couldn’t wait for company. You inspired me! I made a *bastardized* version of these today for lunch. Dee-Vine. Seriously. 🙂

  10. I just linked to your blog and I’m wicked impressed! It’s so great to see a young guy who loves food, cooking and culture. Man, when I was in college, even though I loved cooking even then, the only thing I could really afford to make was stir fry! I also remember eating lots of popcorn. This is a great blog!

  11. You are so funny! I like procrastinating sometimes, I am super-productive at the last moment :)))
    I have tagged you, hope you don’t mind, and if you have no time to do it, it’s fine… Have fun, and good luck!
    Mushroom cups look soooo yummy!

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